My answer to Muslim men commenting on Mohammed Shami's wife's dress

Patriarchy is rampant in the subcontinent and I don't think it has everything to do with religion.

 |  5-minute read |   28-12-2016
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Social media is the new regulator of people’s moralities - and I for one find it obnoxious.

True we share personal information and lay our lives bare for others to see. But does that give everyone the right to make nasty comments?

That's the question, which has been worrying me since the recent controversy over Mohammed Shami's facebook post.

The young Indian fast bowler in all innocence proudly put up a beautiful picture of his charming wife and daughter. I am sure he never expected the barrage of criticism that suddenly erupted. I must say my respect for him grew in leaps and bounds for standing up to trolls and not getting intimidated into taking his post down.

Of course the fact that most of those slamming him on Twitter had Muslim names, which added another dimension to it.

So now we had two sides of the right wing trolls slamming each other. One objected to the fact that Mohammed Shami's wife had worn a sleeveless gown while the other slammed the former for being narrow-minded followers of a certain religion.

There were comments from some Muslim followers criticising him for not controlling his wife, letting her wear sleeveless, for influencing other women to wear the same and for generally being un-Islamic.

It soon became a free for all.

smallshami_122816020550.jpg We need more men like Mohammed Shami who support choice, be it by their wives or any other lady. Photo: Twitter

But what gave me heart was the general support Mohammed Shami and his wife Mrs Hasin Jahan got across the board. Everyone joined in to support his wife's choice of dress, irrespective of religious or political affiliations.

The proud husband soon slammed his critics: "Very good morning. Har kisi ko jindagi mai mukam ni milta, kuch kismat wale hi hote hai jinhe ye nasib hota hai.! jalteee rahooooo… Ye dono meri zindage or life partner hai me acha trha janta hu kiya karna hai kiya nahi. hame apne andar dekhna chahiye ham kitne acche hai."

(Good Morning. Not every one can achieve such a position in life. Only a few fortunate ones are destined to achieve this. Keep feeling jealous! These two are my life and life partner and I know full well what to do or not do. We should soul search and introspect on our own morals.)

We need more men like Mohammed Shami who support choice, be it by their wives or other women.

Though it was given a religious hue because of the Islamic injunction on dress, in my opinion, it is our patriarchal mindset, which sees us, women, as a man's property. Let's not make everything an issue about religion

Patriarchy is rampant in the subcontinent and I don't think it has everything to do with religion. There were conservative Hindus advising women to cover themselves up on Twitter as well.

We are not and will never be a man's property. We are thinking, evolving and intelligent people in our own rights and stand shoulder to shoulder with men in every facet of life.

Today women look for partners in marriage and many prefer not to marry if they don't find one. A husband is not the Lord and Master any more but a friend and companion one wants to spend the rest of one's life with.

The sooner men of every religion realise this, the better.

I have worn almost every type of dress from childhood till age 60. I wore dresses, sleeveless, pants etc...

I wore the hijab out of my own choice for a few years when I was in search of my religious identity. Then gave it up. I now just wear whatever I am comfortable in and what suits the occasion. I don't dress to please people. I dress to express myself.

I dress to be me.

For the Muslim men who were commenting on Mohammed Shami's wife, I quote form the Quran: "Say to the believing men that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that will make for greater purity for them: And Allah is well acquainted with all that they do." Quran 24:30

Also read: What Mohammed Shami's wife wears is nobody's business, not even his

Writer

Rana Safvi Rana Safvi @iamrana

The writer is the author of 'Where Stones Speak' and other books.

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